Finding a reputable corgi breeder is the single most important thing you can do for your future puppy. The search for the right breeder can start years before you actually bring your puppy home. You will come to find that the value a good breeder brings to your future dog is priceless.
For most beginner or novice dog owners, it can be challenging to weed out the reputable breeders from the not-so-reputable ones.
If you are interested in purchasing a puppy from a breeder, these are a few things I recommend future pet parents take into consideration when trying to identify a responsible corgi breeder:
Identifying A Responsible Corgi Breeder
The act of breeding animals requires much more forethought and consideration than just putting two animals together. The physical conformation and temperament of a dog are only part of the equation.
Testing the genetics of potential breeding stock allows breeders to determine whether a dog may pass a disease-causing gene on to offspring. Making informed decisions from health test results enables breeders to adapt their breeding programs and reduces the risk of diseases appearing in future generations.
A reputable breeder should be knowledgeable about the potential genetic and developmental problems inherent to the breed they are breeding. They should provide documentation that their puppies’ parents have been professionally evaluated in an effort to breed those problems out of the gene pool and “better the breed”
Required Health Testing for Corgis
Minimum Required Genetic Testing For Pembroke Welsh Corgis:
- Von Willebrand’s disease (vWD)
- OFA Hip/PennHIP clearance
- OFA Eyes CERF/CARE [Requires Annual Testing]
Minimum Required Genetic Testing For Cardigan Welsh Corgis:
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
- OFA Hip/PennHIP clearance
- OFA Eyes CERF/CARE [Requires Annual Testing]
Any breeder who fails to perform the above tests is considered unethical/irresponsible by failing to meet the minimum standards set forth by the parent club (Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America and Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America).
Be especially wary of anyone who only tests for DM/vWD1/EIC for Pembrokes or DM/vWD1/PRA for Cardigans (commonly marketed as “Triple Clear”).
Backyard breeders use clever marketing terms such as “triple clear” or “championship lines/lineage” in an attempt to mislead unsuspecting puppy buyers.
A reputable breeder will never use this kind of verbiage.
Above all else, reputable breeders should be confident in the health of their breeding program.
Along with copies of parent health clearances, a breeder should also provide a health guarantee for all of the puppies they raise.
Puppies should NEVER be sold “as is.”
Trust But Verify
When you obtain copies of registration certificates or health clearance documents from a breeder, it is important that you do your due diligence and call, email, or check online registries to see if the documents are legitimate.
It is not uncommon for backyard breeders and puppy mills to doctor documents from reputable breeders in an attempt to pass them off as their own.
You can review any dog’s OFA clearances by obtaining that dog’s “CHIC #” and searching the OFA database.
The easiest and fastest way to determine whether a breeding program is humane and ethical is by seeing how a breeder’s program is run on a daily basis.
Whether you live down the street or across the country, you should always ask to see a prospective breeder’s facilities and dogs.
Ideally, you should visit their property in person, but that isn’t always possible. In cases like this, a virtual tour with pictures and videos is the next best thing.
When you are looking at a breeder’s space you should consider the following:
Reputable breeders will keep their facilities professional-looking, clean, and spacious. Puppies will be raised in an area intended specifically for them.
Whelping boxes will be designed for the comfort of both mom and puppies.
I recommend avoiding breeders that whelp their puppies in laundry baskets, plastic blue swimming pools, or in bathrooms/closets.
These are qualities indicative of a Backyard Breeder.
The area in which your puppy is being raised should be adapted over time as your puppy grows.
When puppies are younger, they are less mobile, therefore their pen may be more compact.
As they grow, they will become more adventurous.
A breeder should start introducing toys and other items for your puppy to interact with at around 3-4 weeks of age.
At 5-6 weeks of age, puppies may be exposed to grass, shavings, etc. as a way to help them become more socialized to different environments.
Dogs and Puppies:
When you look at photos and videos of puppies, they should appear clean, healthy, and well-kept.
Their eyes should be free of debris, ears should be clean, and they should behave in a “curious” manner.
The adult dogs in the breeding program should look equally as well-kept.
Their nails will be trimmed, hair will be brushed, and coats will be clean.
Where to Find a Responsible Corgi Breeder
Corgi puppies can be found anywhere and everywhere these days: on Craigslist, Facebook, Google, etc.
Unfortunately, most of these puppies are produced by backyard breeders or puppy mills trying to make a quick profit off of this popular breed.
The puppies these backyard breeders produce are not bred responsibly, and, as a result, can have tons of health and behavioral problems.
If you are in the market for a corgi, I highly suggest that you start your search with the parent club directories.
Club members for both parent clubs have to adhere to a strict code of ethics, ensuring they are breeding responsibly.
Keep in mind that it is difficult to become a member.
Rest assured that those who do become members are producing fantastic representatives of the breed.
With that being said, club member puppies are highly sought after and these breeders receive several puppy buyer inquires each and every day.
If you are interested in purchasing an ethically produced puppy from a club member, you should expect to wait several months (up to a year) before you bring a puppy home.
It is possible to find a responsible breeder outside of the breed club, but they can be much harder to identify, and even harder to locate.
If this is something you are interested in, I highly recommend that you conduct a thorough analysis of the breeders’ program so you can be certain you are working with a responsible corgi breeder.
Websites (or the lack thereof) are not necessarily indicative of a reputable breeder.
In fact, most responsible breeders have a high demand for their dogs and therefore don’t maintain a website/market their dogs on the internet.
They simply don’t need to.
Puppy scammers, however, prey on unsuspecting and uninformed puppy buyers by creating misleading websites and advertising puppies.
Oftentimes, these websites will feature dogs that aren’t theirs and will make false claims to further take advantage of prospective buyers.
Conformation Shows & Sporting Events
Attending local dog events can be a great way to meet local breeders and see their dogs in person. Most dog events are posted online ahead of time and are open to the general public.
Before you attend a show, it’s best to research breeders, their dogs, and the breed ahead of time. Be prepared to answer questions from inquisitive breeders. Remember, first impressions matter!
It’s also important that you feel comfortable conversing with your breeder from the start. Questions and conversation should flow freely.
You should expect to maintain a relationship with the breeder for the entirety of your dog’s lifespan.
Applications + Contracts
When you find a breeder that you are interested in purchasing a dog from, the first thing you should do is fill out their application. Answer each question as honestly as possible.
If the breeder doesn’t have an application process, I would highly recommend you find another breeder. A breeder should be interviewing you just as much as you are interviewing them.
The application process is critical in order to determine whether a family is a suitable home for a puppy.
If a breeder doesn’t require an application, then they aren’t doing their due diligence by screening future puppy owners.
You will likely have many conversations with your breeder before you bring your puppy home.
It is important to remember that regardless of what is said in texts, emails, or over the phone, the contract is the only thing that matters.
As you are reading over the contract, and before you sign, you should consider the following:
- Is the health guarantee clearly outlined?
- Does your breeder require your dog to be spayed/neutered?
- Is the breeder willing to take the dog back at any time for any reason?
Picking Up Your Corgi Puppy
Along with a copy of your signed contract, you should also be provided with the following at your puppy pick up appointment:
- Vet and vaccination records
- A copy of both parents’ health clearances
- A bag of food that your puppy is currently being fed
I never recommend having your puppies flown/shipped/transported from your breeder. Puppies should always be picked up by you in person and be escorted by you back to your home.
Not only is it important for you to meet and talk with the breeder face-to-face, but it’s in the best interest of your puppy that you supervise them once they are out of the breeder’s care.
You Should Never Fly Your Puppy Via Cargo
- Flying an adult dog in cargo will generally fair well if you and the airline follow proper safety guidelines. At that, I would never recommend shipping an adult dog via cargo unless that was my only option.
- A 10-week old puppy is much more fragile in both health and temperament than an adult dog. A terrifying airplane ride can create severe anxiety in a young puppy. Worse, flying a puppy in cargo can be dangerous to their health.
If you do decide fly your puppy home, always pay for them to fly in the cabin with you.
Red Flags/Green Flags for Corgi Puppy Buyers
- Marketing dogs that are off-standard as rare or specialty: Fluffies, Dilutes, etc.
- Lack of sufficient health testing or using phrases like “Triple Clear”
- Selling Corgi Mixes/American Corgis
- Member of the PWCCA or CWCCA
- Perform at a minimum, Eye, Hip, and vWD clearances. (Bonus: DM, Elbows, etc.)
- Parent dogs are titled in conformation and/or sport.
Bringing home a puppy can and should be an exciting time in your life. However, if done incorrectly, it can be detrimental to the health and happiness of your future puppy.
So, take the extra time and thoroughly interview any breeder you are considering purchasing a dog from.
Your future puppy will thank you for it.